gardening in bowl depressions : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I know I've been a posting lady today, but does anyone out there have any experience with gardening in recessed circles to make watering effective? This is something I am experimenting with as our solar well doesn't have tremendous output and drip is just too plain expensive. So far I am very excited about the potential for this very droughty area of California I live in. I saw somewhere an article about a man who farmed in a droughty area of South America and used this method with great success.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, April 09, 2000


I have never planted in circular depressions, but have planted in trenches. It worked quite well for sweet potatoes. Did pretty good for corn, although you have to continue to pull up dirt to the roots of corn to make it more wind resistant. Didn't work too well on bush beans though as all the beans were dragging on the ground and developed rot or rust or both, and were very dirty and difficult to wash clean.

-- Green (, April 09, 2000.

I have been using this method for years, even tho Maine is seldom a drought area (except last year!) I use it for all the vine crops - squash, pumpkins, cukes. When planting, I smooth out a bowl of perhaps 2' in diameter by 3 or 4" deep, and plant 1 seed in the middle and more around the perimeter. When the plants reach viable size I thin to 3 or 4 plants, depending upon the variety. The beauty is in watering. Sprinklers use a lot of water and much of it is wasted. Water on foliage is also not beneficial under most circumstances. I water heavily once per week, depending upon conditions. I also use a hose end feeder to apply a water soluble fertilizer every 3 weeks or so. The system works for me! Good luck!

-- Brad (, April 09, 2000.

Sound interesting, though I would be worried about a freak heavy thunderstorm filling up the depression and drowning the roots. Even during the droughts, that we had, we always had 1 or 2 heavy downburst that flooded the garden.

I have a drip irrigation system using Plastic Barrels and PVC pipe. Instead of drip nozzles, I drill 1/16" holes every 18" into the PVC pipe. I then put a string through each 1/16" hole, tying a knot at each end of the string. I lay the string near the plant to be irrigated, the water wicks out the string. If the string become satuated with salts and stops wicking, with a gentle tug on the string it will start working again.

I am going to try the depression method on some pumkins and watermelons this year, a downburst may not harm those water thristy plants.

-- Rich (, April 09, 2000.

I agree that drip is very expensive. What I use is soaker hose, 1 per bed, and attach each to a reg. garden hose. This way you don't have to have a lot of pressure. You can also use a fifty five gal. drum filled with rain water saved from the acasional rain shower. Although I live in the rainy NW, we do get the two month dry season every year. Our drought 2 years ago lasted 76 days. For us that was forever! Annette

-- annette (, April 10, 2000.

I plant as much as I can in "bowls" here in Oklahoma. When it's really hot and dry in the summer, and if the soil isn't quite where you want it to be in terms of organic material, I find that it's the only way to keep the water from just running off. It helps to mulch thickly, also. We have yet to drill a well and have to haul our water from the spring, so water conservation is top priority for us. And all this time I thought I'd invented something! Ha,Ha.

-- Judy Bowman (, April 11, 2000.

Someone commented that they were concerned about a downpour drowning the roots. I don't think you would have to worry about that unless it was an unusually wet season. The water from the downpour will soak into the earth or run off before it has a chance to do any damage -- and you probably wouldn't get any more water in the downpour, really, than in a good watering with a sprinkler. The roots would only suffer if the water stood there for a prolonged time.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 11, 2000.

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